When shopping for the people you love during this season of giving, shopping local can bring joy to every party involved. In Eugene, I like nothing better than to stop at Down to Earth: Home, Garden & Gift.
Down to Earth is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, but the heart behind the products has always held true. “We came from humble beginnings, but our mission has stayed the same,” Carol Watkins, one of the store’s buyers, tells me. “We sell quality products for natural living.”
Walking through the entire store is a gift in itself. The city-block-long store on Olive Street is part of the Historic Farmer’s Union Building, and you can take a self-guided tour wandering through as you admire the abundance of unique, local items.
More importantly, you can find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. The store is full of treasures — handmade pottery and quality kitchenware, beautifully printed textiles, Oregon-made candles and lotions, and every gardening necessity you could imagine — making it pleasantly hard to pick just a few.
First, when shopping for the environmentally friendly family, stop and grab a pack of Bee’s Wrap ($16-$20) — it’s a natural, reusable food wrap made only of organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, natural tree resin and organic jojoba oil. It’s handmade in Vermont, comes in a range of sizes to wrap all varieties of foods and is perfect to please your nature-focused friends.
From there, head over to the accessories section and stop when you see the Ruthie & Olive jewelry line ($25.99-$35.99). Not only are these necklaces delicate and beautiful, they are packaged perfectly and paired with a sweet quote ready to be easily given as a gift.
Better yet, with each necklace sold, three meals are provided to those in need through the Oregon Food Bank. This Portland-based brand brings beauty into the world while battling food insecurity, and is high on the list of meaningful gifts in the store.
After you’ve finished admiring gifts for inside the home, move over to the garden. There are two items in this section that are perfect for the gardeners in your life: First, check out the display of Green Journey Seeds ($3.49 each). The varieties of seed packages are all grown on small organic farms in Lane County. Bundling a variety of seeds to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can make the perfect local gift.
Finally, for a last unique gift for your outdoor-loving friends, stay in the garden area and find the standing display of Wheel House Design Novelty Socks ($11.99). These socks are made in the U.S., and their simple tan color makes the vegetables on them stand out.
For the chilly winter months when gardeners may retreat indoors, looking down at your feet to see a perfectly planted carrot will surely bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Down to Earth is open 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday at 532 Olive Street in Eugene. For more information, visit DowntoEarthEugene.com.